quinzhee camping and winter camping and quincy camping and quinzy camping
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Welcome to  My Quinzhee Camping page - HOW TO BUILD ONE.

AND Our annual Algonquin Park (PICS), Ontario get-a-way! This is Winter Camping at its best!




               Click ANY picture for large image!

This page is hosted inside my Mustang Cobra web site, hence the reason for all the Mustang links on both sides :)

Our 2007 trip was a HUGE success.  I have created the picture ALBUM HERE

Here is a video file of the lighting of our Saturday night fire - HERE

The Quinzhee from 2007 will be up till early April on site #6.


2006 trip page is   HERE - SO much snow we built a 2-room Quinzhee with a dining room.


Read the rest of the page to learn HOW-TO build a Quinzhee - Snow fort.

Can you tell I am Canadian??  haha .... Only Canadians would enjoy going up North for 3 days and live in this thing called a Quinzhee.  I've seen it spelled Quincy, and Quinzy as well.

We camp each year in a Provincial Park in Ontario called Algonquin Park.  Their facilities are open in the winter at MEW Lake, so that is where we go.  Algonquin is beautiful in the winter.  Most years we have gone up in January, but February has more snow so I think we will do February from now on.  Global warming is killing the snow in January :(

My first year up to the park in January was in 1985, so for over 20 years I have been doing this.  Well, I haven't been making Quinzhee's quite that long, but I have been doing the winter camping thing for over 20 years.  My friend Wayne Smith introduced to this concept that long ago, and although he doesn't come up any more, I have never missed a year since.  One year I saw this mound of snow in the camp ground and wondered what it was.  It was indeed a QUINZHEE.  That's when I put my engineering hat on (no, I am not an engineer) and have had a blast with this ever since.  My 2 other main side-kicks Eric and Bernie have been doing this with me since almost the beginning.  Timbo (we call him the "Slacker") is next in number of years.  Last year (2005) we initiated Fabio, and in 2007 we initiated "Snow Angel".

from left to right (Me, Snowy,Timbo,Bernie,Eric,Fabio) - click for full size image!

quinzhee camping

Building the QUINZHEE is a step by step process.  To be SAFE, you have to do it properly.  The bigger the QUINZHEE the safer it needs to be.

In Point form here are the steps

Establish your perimeter.

Shovel enough snow that it is big enough for what you need.

Let it sit (I suggest overnight - but if it is FLUFFY - 2 days).

● Dig it out.

● Create vents

● Heat it up.

● Cool it down

● move in.


OK ... lets see if I can supply some pictures along the way.  Step 1 is "Establish your perimeter".  I usually just walk around in a big circle.  Keep in mind that me and the guys are insane when it comes to building these things.  We always try to outdo ourselves each year, making it bigger and bigger.  Needless to say it has become enormous over the years.

Here you can see the original shape and just a little bit of clearing.  You will also notice that last year there was not all that much snow, so we had to clear a HUGE area to get the size we wanted.  Other years there has been 3 feet deep of snow :)

Quinzhee camping

OK, step 2 - dig up as big as you require.  Well, since we have 5-6 guys that come, we need it pretty big inside.  I would say generally the inside dimensions are 12' X 14'.

Here is a shot of the finished mound >>>>>

Quinzhee Camping

We ALWAYS let the mound sit OVER NIGHT

Then we start digging it out >>>>

Quinzhee Camping

After a bit of work you will be able to get right inside and continue digging - here is Bernie working on the inside.  Once inside you need to dig UP as well as out.  But to make sure you do not shovel THROUGH the ceiling, you need to fill in the door with snow from the inside.  Just tell the guys outside NOT to clear away the snow for a bit - this way the inside will be dark.  Don't worry, you will still be able to see OK.  When you start to see lightened spots in the ceiling and sides, stop digging there.  It's still about 1 foot thick at that point.

I also suggest bringing 2-way radios so it's easier to communicate to the guys outside telling them to dig you out.  The outside guys should pile the snow on the sides, building out a wind-proof entrance. >>>> Those big arms coming out is the snow that was inside >>>>>>

Quinzhee Camping

Here are 2 shots of the inside >>>>>

Quinzhee Camping

Quinzhee Camping

Next, Make your Vents (air) holes.  I usually put in 3. >>>

Quinzhee Camping

Next, Heat it up - I use Lanterns since they throw off a lot of heat>>

Quinzhee Camping

Quinzhee Camping

NOW ..... We bring along a WOODEN DOOR.  Of course you do NOT have to do this, but Bernie is a cabinet maker, so, creating a door took him about 30 seconds.  I works fantastic. You can use a piece of plastic or whatever - try to seal it up good.  Here is Bernie with door>>>

Quinzhee Camping

Quinzhee Camping

The door completely installed >>>>>>>

Quinzhee Camping

Let the lanterns heat up the Quinzhee for 2-3 hours.  Then turn them off and open up the door.  The heating up creates moisture and then the cold freezes it up again.  We do this because our intentions every year is to make the Largest and Strongest Quinzhee in Algonquin Park.  The Park Warden leaves our Quinzhee up into late April before they smash it in with the front end loader.  Dozens of families use our Quinzhee for the remainder of the season.  Make us proud.

We usually just use a big groundsheet inside to keep us off the snow.  We all have "Thermorests" or other padding.  You definitely want to keep off the floor because the floor will become solid ice very quickly.  One year we had a bail of hay, which worked out great.

Perhaps if you are lucky, you will meet some new friends.  Meet Ginger>

Quinzhee Camping

Ginger liked the Quinzhee too >>>>>

Quinzhee Camping

Friends (Mike and Steve) we have met over the past couple years come up with a COOL heated tent with a wood stove inside.  Here are a couple of pics >>> remember - click for larger view



So what do we do when we have time to spare .... we go hiking,  The park is beautiful in the winter ... especially after a fresh snowfall.

Algonquin Park

Algonquin Park

Thanks for visiting ..... If you have ANY questions go to "contact" and I'll be happy to answer your questions.





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